The Carapace Trilogy

carapace 23.7

In a recent choral piece of mine based on a collection of texts (Carapace*23) by (mostly) South African poets the image of a number of people crossing at a traffic intersection provided an important point of departure.
The individuals, like the poets, having interests as different as their backgrounds, each existing in their own world (shell?), sometimes interacting while passing or bumping into one another, sometimes just finding themselves in the same place as an other (like it or not).
In the flute piece a rural layer has been superimposed over the urban map of the choral piece, the flautist also bringing some extra's to the party as she travels through this mixed landscape.

twenty three carapi

The texts for twenty three carapi are taken from a collection of poems (Carapace*23) that I came across on a recent trip to my home country, South Africa. As explained in the editorial this particular edition was international in character and endeavoured “in a small way, as one of its inchoate policies..., to reverse the direction of cultural colonialism. We bring non-South African poets to the attention of local readers and vice versa.”
Despite the international point of departure, the poets featured are all either South African or have some connection with South Africa. Tatamkhulu Afrika (one of the African poets included in the collection but not featured in my settings) for example is mentioned in the poem by Sujata Bhatt, an Indian poetess living with her husband Michael Augustin (himself an artist, prose-poet and broadcaster) in Bremen, a town in which I myself spent some two years studying. Sujata’s name in turn recurs in the poem by James Matthews, a South African poet and novelist.
The personal character of this thread of names is continued in lighter and often intimate texts such as Caroline Long’s The Mozart Café or Stephanie Shutte’s poem about a childhood romance picked up after many years and continued despite great geographical distance. Alongside these poems one finds more serious reflections on religion in Adam Schwartzman’s intricate Rhapsody or on the nature of creativity in Leon de Kock’s The Wall for example. In this respect I feel that the collection reflects a little of the diversity of South Africa and its peoples. Individuals each carrying a shell that helps them define their own world in the presence of others. Sometimes interacting and transforming one-another, sometimes just existing in the same space.

read poems...

kara p 2. 00 3

The last in a trilogy of pieces begun with the setting (twenty three carapi) of (mostly) South African Poems found in the collection Carapace*23

The metrical structure of the flute piece (carapace 23.7) that grew out of the choral piece retained - rather like a street layout that remains in the aftermath of war, forced removal or planned re-development.
Areas wiped clean provide space for the new.
Surviving fragments reconstructed or developed in ways not previously possible or imagined.
The process of erasure takes on a fascination of its own - "what to do with all this newly liberated territory?"

Alongside the live musicians recorded readings from Rem Koolhaas' S,M,L,XL (Globalization, Singaporesongline: 30 years of Tabula Rasa) ; Clive Chipkin's Deurmekaar Johannesburg (Township - , Post -War Johannesburg) and Karen Press' The home that you built, an accumulative poem used by Lien Botha in her contribution to the District Six Culture Project.

carapace 23.7

Recording of the première by Anne la Berge,
April 2000 at the Beethoven Room, Grahamstown, South Africa.
*
23 Carapi
Recording of the première by the Koor Nieuwe Musik Amsterdam ,17th March 2000 at the Korzo Theater, Den Haag.
*
kara p 2 .00 3
A studio (midi) realisation of the piece incorporating fragments from the première performance which took place on the 3rd of July 2000 a the Beethoven Room, Grahamstown, South Africa.

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